29 SES 02 B, Arts Education and Technologies
Drawing on Bourdieu and Dewey, this paper presents an argument for an arts-led, experiential pedagogy to initiate creative learning, invention and achievement across the arts and sciences.
International indices such as PISA reflect the concern of educators and employers in technologically advanced countries that too few young people are skilled and knowledgeable in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Drawing on Bourdieu, research into young people’s aspirations with regard to science recognises the complex attitudinal challenge of increasing the pursuit of STEM studies and careers. It focuses upon the significance of building ‘science capital’, acknowledging their limited awareness of the varied application of science. It also recommends early intervention, from primary school age (Archer et al. 2013b) and situating learning to challenge popular perceptions and cultures of STEM subjects, such as its masculinity (Archer et al 2013a).
This paper describes the conceptualisation, design and evaluation of the 'Imagineerium' project, developed between a cultural and engineering organisation and the University of Warwick, to address such issues. The project developed from a performing arts and engineering partnership that has created nationally significant, community performance events. It also built upon experience of, and commitment to, developing young people’s creative capabilities. Critical is the situating of the physics / scientific processes, central to mechanical engineering, within a real-world project, led by arts processes. This prioritises embodied and situated learning (Rambusch and Ziemke 2005; Wilson 2010).
Research into the arts supports claims that it is both intrinsically and instrumentally beneficial (Steiner 2004; Dewey 1980; Matarasso 1997; Catterall 2009). The project hypothesised that a creative and artistically led educational experience could be instrumentally beneficial to the development of both pupils understanding of, and motivation for, STEM subjects, whilst feeding the habit of invention. The arts-led experience was conceived as the integrating context for these educational outcomes (Dewey 1980).
The presenter of this paper self-locates as an arts based educational practitioner migrating into a higher education role. As such the paper is grounded in an analysis of the arts as educationally significant. The intrinsic value of the arts and culture in society and learning is widely recognised yet its realisation and role remains a contested area. Steiner (2004), for example, considered a holistic (mind, body and soul) experience of the arts central to sensitising and realising the potential of the child. Whilst this integrated positioning of the arts is atypical in European schools (Bamford 2006), Steiner's influence and the wider progressive movement has contributed towards a view of the arts as intrinsically valuable to human development, innate and growable (Runco and Richards 1997; NACCCE 1999; Craft 2001; Jeffrey and Craft 2001). Nonetheless, recent European research argues an increasingly instrumental role for arts education, shaped significantly by the knowledge economy’s interest in creativity as a new kind of social capital. (Eurydice 2009).
A Bourdieuan perspective might suggest that the learning and creative inventions generated by these new partnerships between artists, engineers and young people, provide a kind of cultural and human capital (and the potential for economic capital). Arts-led experiences, like the Imagineerium project, potentially provide a context for embodied, purposeful creative learning across disciplines. Such experiences are also a context for trialling the more risky pedagogy of creative learning which challenge the controls of a standardised curriculum. (Craft 2003; Runco 2011; 179).
Archer, L., DeWitt, J., Osborne, J., Dillon, J., Willis, B. Wong, B. (2013a) ‘Aspire: Young People’s science and careers aspirations ages 10-14’, Kings College Archer, L., DeWitt, J., Osborne, J., Dillon, J., Willis, B. Wong, B. (2013b.) ‘Not girly, not sexy, not glamorous’: primary school girls’ and parents’ constructions of science aspirations, Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 21:1, 171-194 Bamford, A. (2006) The Wow Factor: Global Research Compendium on the Impact of the Arts in Education, Waxmann Verlag Bourdieu,P. and Wacquant, L. (2006) ‘An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology’, The University of Chicago Press Catterall, J.S (2009) Doing Well and Doing Good by Doing Art,: The Effects of Education in the Visual and Performing Arts on the Achievements and Values of Young Adults Los Angeles/London: The Imagination Group Cohen, L., Manion, L. and Morrison, K. (2011) Research Methods in Education, Routledge Craft, A. (2001) ‘Little c creativity’ in Craft, A., Jeffrey, B. and Leibling, M. in Craft, A., Jeffrey, B. and Leibling, M.[Eds] Creativity in Education, London: Continuum Craft, A. (2003) ‘The Limits to Creativity in Education: Dilemmas for the Educator’, British Journal of Educational Studies, 51: 2, 113-127 Dewey, J. (1980) Art as Experience, Perigree Books Eurydice (2009) Arts and Cultural Education at School in Europe, Education, Audiovisual & Culture Executive Agency Jeffrey, B. and Craft, A. (2001) ‘The universalization of creativity in education’ in Craft, A., Jeffrey, B. and Leibling, M.[Eds] Creativity in Education, London: Continuum Matarasso, F. (1997) Use or Ornament?, Comedia National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education (NACCCE), (1999) All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education, London: Department for Education and Employment Rambusch, J. & Ziemke, T. (2005) The Role of Embodiment in Situated Learning. In: Bara, B.G., Barsalou, L. and Bucciarelli, M. (Eds.) Proceedings of the 27th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, 1803-1808., NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Runco, M. and Richards, R. (1997) Eminent Creativity Everyday Creativity and Health, Connecticut, Ablex Publishing Company Runco, Mark A. and Pritzker, Steven R (2011) Encyclopedia of Creativity 2nd ed, Academic Press Steiner, R (2004) A Modern Art of Education, Anthroposophic Press. Walsh, E., Anders, K., Hancock, S. and Elvidge, L. (2013) ‘Reclaiming creativity in the era of impact: exploring ideas about creative research in science and engineering’, Studies in Higher Education, 38:9, 1259-1273 Wilson, M. (2010). The retooled mind: How culture re-engineers cognition. Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience.
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